Latest Hugo Chavez News

  • Venezuela launches new US visa requirement
    Venezuela launches new US visa requirement Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    Venezuela began requiring visas for US travelers to the country Tuesday, implementing a measure announced by President Nicolas Maduro in retaliation for American "meddling." More »

  • Venezuela initiates visa requirement for U.S. travellers Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela on Tuesday began requiring U.S. travellers to seek visas before visiting the South American nation amid an escalation of diplomatic tensions between Washington and the administration of President Nicolas Maduro. The socialist government on Monday ordered the U.S. Embassy in Caracas to slash its staff by 80 percent, days after Maduro said several Americans had been detained on suspicions they were involved in espionage. ... More »

  • Venezuela tells U.S. embassy in Caracas: Cut staff by 80 percent Mon, Mar 2, 2015

    By Diego Ore CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela on Monday ordered the U.S. embassy in Caracas to reduce staff from 100 to 17 amid the worst diplomatic flare-up between the two ideological foes since socialist President Nicolas Maduro was elected in 2013. Maduro, who like his predecessor Hugo Chavez frequently locks horns with Washington, has stepped up accusations in recent weeks that the United States is seeking to topple him. The measures announced in response to alleged coup plotting are the most significant against Washington of Maduro's nearly two-year rule, though foes say they represent a timeworn tactic to distract Venezuelans from their economic troubles. "They have 15 days to reduce the size of their embassy to 17 staffers," Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez said after a meeting with the U.S. Chargé d'Affaires Lee McClenny, Washington's most senior diplomat in Venezuela. More »

  • Insight - As Venezuela coffee output sinks, it swaps oil to import Nicaraguan …
    Insight - As Venezuela coffee output sinks, it swaps oil to import Nicaraguan … Sun, Mar 1, 2015

    By Luc Cohen and Ivan Castro NEW YORK/MANAGUA (Reuters) - Venezuela, once a proud exporter of premium coffee, has been reduced to swapping crude oil for growing volumes of Nicaraguan coffee beans to make sure worsening economic turmoil does not prevent people from getting their caffeine fix.     For the first time on record, coffee imports this year will exceed the bean output of Venezuela's centuries-old coffee industry, according to U.S. government estimates. ... More »

  • Venezuela to limit US diplomats, require visas for Americans
    Venezuela to limit US diplomats, require visas for Americans Sun, Mar 1, 2015

    President Nicolas Maduro plans to limit the US diplomatic presence in Venezuela and require American tourists to obtain visas, in a sign of growing tensions between the two countries. More »

  • 5 Similarities Between Spain's Podemos Party and Greece's Syriza Fri, Feb 27, 2015

    Syriza, the leftist coalition elected last month to lead Greece, has an ally in Spain’s Podemos party, the subject of a page-one article in The Wall Street Journal. Podemos, which is surging in voter surveys less than a year before Spanish elections, shares Syriza’s outlook on eurozone troubles that have hit both countries hard. More »

  • Protests continue in Venezuela as teen shot by police is buried
    Protests continue in Venezuela as teen shot by police is buried Thu, Feb 26, 2015

    By Javier Faria SAN CRISTOBAL, Venezuela (Reuters) - Sporadic protests flared in different parts of Venezuela on Wednesday, a day after a policeman shot dead a teenager during a demonstration against President Nicolas Maduro's government in the volatile city of San Cristobal. The worst unrest was again in San Cristobal, where distraught relatives of 14-year-old Kluibert Roa held a wake and funeral following his killing on Tuesday. Local authorities declared a day of mourning, and many shops stayed closed in fear of trouble as well as to honour Roa. "My son was neither an opposition supporter nor a 'Chavista,' he was my son, the apple of my eye," his father, Erick Roa, said at the funeral. More »

  • Venezuelan students demand end to 'deadly force' order
    Venezuelan students demand end to 'deadly force' order Wed, Feb 25, 2015

    Angry Venezuelan students marched to the justice ministry Wednesday to demand it revoke a resolution allowing police to use deadly force at protests after an officer was charged with killing a 14-year-old boy. More »

  • Protests continue during burial of Venezuela teen shot by police
    Protests continue during burial of Venezuela teen shot by police Wed, Feb 25, 2015

    By Javier Farias SAN CRISTOBAL, Venezuela (Reuters) - Sporadic protests flared in different parts of Venezuela on Wednesday after a policeman shot dead a teenager during a demonstration against President Nicolas Maduro's government in the volatile city of San Cristobal. The worst unrest was again in San Cristobal where distraught relatives of 14-year-old Kluibert Roa held a wake and funeral following his killing on Tuesday. ... More »

  • Venezuela's ruling party targets new opposition leader
    Venezuela's ruling party targets new opposition leader Tue, Feb 24, 2015

    Lawmakers from Venezuela's ruling party said Tuesday they have asked prosecutors to investigate a leading opposition lawmaker for conspiring to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro, the latest attack on his opponents. More »

  • Venezuela's ruling Socialists target another opposition leader
    Venezuela's ruling Socialists target another opposition leader Mon, Feb 23, 2015

    By Andrew Cawthorne CARACAS (Reuters) - Socialist Party legislators called on Monday for a probe of another Venezuelan opposition leader accused of conspiring against President Nicolas Maduro, days after the mayor of Caracas was arrested on similar charges. The opposition fears an investigation against Julio Borges, a parliamentarian and national coordinator of the Primero Justicia (Justice First) party, could signal a wider crackdown. Pedro Carreno, who heads the Socialists' parliamentary bloc, led a group of legislators to the Public Prosecutor's Office in Caracas to request a formal investigation. The move against Borges, 45, follows the high-profile arrest of Caracas mayor Antonio Ledezma, 59. More »

  • Arrest shows Venezuelan leader panicking - mayor's wife
    Arrest shows Venezuelan leader panicking - mayor's wife Sun, Feb 22, 2015

    By Alexandra Ulmer CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela's president is panicking over falling popularity and has revealed his authoritarian face by arresting Caracas's mayor, the opposition politician's wife said. Antonio Ledezma, 59, was seized by intelligence agents in his office on Thursday and charged the next day for "conspiring" against President Nicolas Maduro's socialist government which has been alleging a U.S.-backed coup plot. He knows that every day there are more opponents," Mitzy Ledezma said. The OPEC country's recession, shortages of basic goods from toilet paper to flour, and near-70 percent annual inflation have hurt Maduro, elected in 2013 to replace the late Hugo Chavez. More »

  • Venezuelans' long waits yield soap, and intelligence agents
    Venezuelans' long waits yield soap, and intelligence agents Sun, Feb 22, 2015

    People queue up outside a supermarket in Caracas on January 13, 2015 More »

  • Caracas mayor held over alleged coup plot in Venezuela
    Caracas mayor held over alleged coup plot in Venezuela Sat, Feb 21, 2015

    Caracas mayor and opposition politician Antonio Ledezma remained in custody Saturday following his arrest over what Venezuela president Nicolas Maduro alleges is a coup plot financed by the United States. More »

  • US, Latin America worry over Venezuela tensions
    US, Latin America worry over Venezuela tensions Sat, Feb 21, 2015

    The United States and Latin American nations voiced concerns Friday over political tensions in Venezuela after the socialist government arrested the opposition mayor of Caracas in an alleged coup plot. More »

  • Venezuela indicts opposition mayor on charges of conspiring
    Venezuela indicts opposition mayor on charges of conspiring Sat, Feb 21, 2015

    By Andrew Cawthorne and Alexandra Ulmer CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela on Friday indicted a veteran Caracas mayor on charges of plotting violence against President Nicolas Maduro's government and ordered he be jailed in a military prison pending trial. Maduro, the socialist leader and successor to Hugo Chavez, cast Antonio Ledezma's detention as part of efforts to stop a U.S.-backed coup. Opponents scoffed at that as a smokescreen to distract from Venezuela's economic crisis and staged small protests against what they slammed an authoritarian move. On Friday night, the state prosecutor's office said he had been indicted for conspiracy and would be jailed in the Ramo Verde military prison, where hardline opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez has been locked up for a year. More »

  • Venezuelan leader steps up offensive against opposition
    Venezuelan leader steps up offensive against opposition Fri, Feb 20, 2015

    Venezuela's socialist President Nicolas Maduro intensified his offensive against his most fervent opponents, sending the capital's mayor to jail as prosecutors planned Friday to charge him with a "violent" anti-government conspiracy. More »

  • Venezuela arrests opposition mayor accused of coup plot
    Venezuela arrests opposition mayor accused of coup plot Fri, Feb 20, 2015

    By Brian Ellsworth CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan arrested opposition leader and Caracas metropolitan mayor Antonio Ledezma on Thursday in a move the government said was needed to halt a U.S.-backed coup plot but foes decried as tyranny. Intelligence agents took the 59-year-old veteran politician from his office in the banking district of Caracas after breaking down doors and firing shots in the air, witnesses said. "I just saw how they took Ledezma out of his office as if he were a dog," wrote opposition legislator Ismael Garcia via Twitter. "They broke down the doors without an arrest warrant." The arrest comes a year after the outbreak of opposition protests calling for President Nicolas Maduro's resignation that rocked the OPEC nation and sparked violence killing 43 people. More »

  • Venezuela arrests Caracas opposition mayor over 'coup'
    Venezuela arrests Caracas opposition mayor over 'coup' Fri, Feb 20, 2015

    Masked intelligence service agents arrested the mayor of Caracas over what socialist President Nicolas Maduro alleges was a coup plot financed by the United States and directed "from Washington." More »

  • Venezuela: Anti-government protests in San Cristobal and Caracas as Maduro alleges …
    Venezuela: Anti-government protests in San Cristobal and Caracas as Maduro alleges … Fri, Feb 13, 2015

    San Cristobal, near the border with Colombia, was an epicentre of the 2014 movement. National Guard soldiers and police fired teargas and buckshot against demonstrators who hurled pipes and Molotov cocktails when a march was blocked. Five security officials and three demonstrators were hurt in the nearly two-hour standoff, some shops vandalised, and four students arrested, witnesses and authorities said. At the Caracas protest, masked students blocked an avenue with burning rubbish and rubble and threw rocks at police, who fired buckshot in a confrontation that lasted until dusk. More »

  • Violence flares in Venezuela on anniversary of 2014 fatalities
    Violence flares in Venezuela on anniversary of 2014 fatalities Fri, Feb 13, 2015

    By Andrew Cawthorne and Javier Farias CARACAS/SAN CRISTOBAL (Reuters) - Venezuelan security forces faced off with stone-wielding protesters on Thursday as supporters of President Nicolas Maduro also rallied on the anniversary of last year's fatal unrest. The flare-ups, in the volatile western city of San Cristobal and the capital Caracas, recalled four months of protests and violence in 2014 killing 43 people and underlined just how tense the South American OPEC nation remains. In San Cristobal, National Guard soldiers and police fired teargas and buckshot against demonstrators who hurled pipes and Molotov cocktails when a march was blocked. Five security officials and three demonstrators were hurt in the nearly two-hour standoff, some shops vandalised, and four students arrested in that city, witnesses and authorities said. More »

  • Clashes erupt on anniversary of Venezuela protests
    Clashes erupt on anniversary of Venezuela protests Thu, Feb 12, 2015

    Venezuelan police fired tear gas Thursday to break up students demonstrating against President Nicolas Maduro's government, on the anniversary of protests that eventually left 43 people dead last year. More »

  • Venezuela unveils plan for free-market forex
    Venezuela unveils plan for free-market forex Thu, Feb 12, 2015

    Recession-hit Venezuela, with its currency the Bolivar seen here, unveiled details on its plan to partially liberalize its exchange rate by allowing banks and brokerage houses to sell dollars, saying individuals ... More »

  • Venezuela says SwissLeaks accounts 'transparent'
    Venezuela says SwissLeaks accounts 'transparent' Thu, Feb 12, 2015

    Venezuelan Minister of Economy, Finance and Public Banking Rodolfo Marco Torres during a press conference in Caracas on February 10, 2015 More »

  • Spanish protest party Podemos faces first storm
    Spanish protest party Podemos faces first storm Tue, Feb 10, 2015

    Spanish protest party Podemos faced growing attacks Tuesday over alleged financial irregularities by a top leader who advised late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and other left-wing Latin American governments. More »

  • Venezuela to partially liberalize exchange rate
    Venezuela to partially liberalize exchange rate Tue, Feb 10, 2015

    A vendor counts Bolivar notes at her stall in Caracas on February 10, 2015, after the Venezuelan government confirmed the partial release of the market exchange after creating a new mechanism for buying ... More »

  • Venezuela leader orders takeover of supermarket chain
    Venezuela leader orders takeover of supermarket chain Fri, Feb 6, 2015

    Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, pictured on February 04, 2015 in Caracas, orders the government takeover of a private supermarket chain, accusing the company of food hoarding amid huge lines and shortages ... More »

  • Venezuela angry at UK over 'spy glasses' smuggled into Lopez trial
    Venezuela angry at UK over 'spy glasses' smuggled into Lopez trial Fri, Feb 6, 2015

    By Andrew Cawthorne CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela's top prosecutor is seeking an explanation from Britain about a diplomat's role in an attempt to film the trial of opposition protest leader Leopoldo Lopez using video glasses. "They're $20 glasses from Amazon made in China, not a NASA instrument! They don't allow recording by phone, but there's no rule against glasses," said the elder Lopez, referring to a type often advertised as "spy glasses." "But I was caught, and when one of the sheriffs pulled me out, I let the glasses drop and they fell on this British fellow who had nothing to do with it," he told Reuters. With Western pressure over the Lopez case building, however, Venezuela's attorney general, Luisa Ortega, suspected deliberate collusion between the diplomat and the opposition leader's family. She has asked Venezuela's foreign ministry to follow up with British authorities over what she termed an "irregular" incident and sign of international interference. More »

  • Venezuela becoming 'laughing stock', ex-Chavez economic guru says
    Venezuela becoming 'laughing stock', ex-Chavez economic guru says Tue, Feb 3, 2015

    Venezuela's economic failings are turning it into the "laughing-stock" of Latin America, according to late president Hugo Chavez's top economic planner. Former Finance and Planning Minister Jorge Giordani, who was sacked in mid-2014 by Chavez's successor, Nicolas Maduro, said in an interview this week that reforms in the South American OPEC nation are years overdue. "In truth, we are almost the laughing stock of Latin America," Giordani, 75, said. "If the situation is bad, if the thermometer is at 40 degrees, there are those who blame the thermometer ... We need to acknowledge the crisis, comrades." Venezuela's ailing economy is Maduro's No. 1 problem. More »

  • Hard-left Podemos rises with stark portrait of divided Spain
    Hard-left Podemos rises with stark portrait of divided Spain Mon, Feb 2, 2015

    Less than a week after the victory of its hard-left ally Syriza in Greece, Spain's Podemos party launched an election-heavy year by assembling more than 100,000 supporters for a rally in Madrid. More »

  • Venezuela jails store owners accused of creating queues - Maduro Mon, Feb 2, 2015

    By Alexandra Ulmer and Deisy Buitrago CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela has jailed the owners of an unnamed chain of shops accused of engineering queues to whip up anger with the socialist government, President Nicolas Maduro said on Sunday. Chronic shortages of basic goods, including flour, chicken and diapers, have triggered massive lines that sometimes stretch around blocks and have become a nightmare to navigate for Venezuelans. More »

  • In violent Venezuela, police killings surge to almost one a day
    In violent Venezuela, police killings surge to almost one a day Thu, Jan 29, 2015

    By Andrew Cawthorne and Diego Ore CARACAS (Reuters) - After finishing a routine overnight shift, Venezuelan policeman Edgar Perez was walking home from the bus stop when two armed men pulled up on a motorbike. Perez, 41, had time to draw his gun and injure one of the attackers in the shootout near his modest home in the town of Ocumare del Tuy outside Caracas, but the other shot him in the head and took his weapon. Most of the officers were killed for their guns, cars, motorbikes or even telephones, according to local monitoring and rights group Foundation for Due Process, or Fundepro. With gangs running poor neighbourhoods, weapons easily available, judges and police often on the take, and prosecution rates low, Venezuela is the world's second worst country for homicides overall, the United Nations says. More »

  • Cuban leader demands end to US embargo to renew ties
    Cuban leader demands end to US embargo to renew ties Thu, Jan 29, 2015

    Cuban President Raul Castro laid out conditions to normalize relations with the United States, demanding an end to the US embargo, the return of Guantanamo and Havana's removal from a terror list. More »

  • Venezuela confirms defection of former security agent to U.S.
    Venezuela confirms defection of former security agent to U.S. Wed, Jan 28, 2015

    By Alexandra Ulmer CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan officials confirmed on Tuesday the defection of a former bodyguard of Socialist Party heavyweight Diosdado Cabello but denied media reports his evidence to U.S. investigators implicated the powerful official in running a drug ring. Spanish newspaper ABC and Miami-based El Nuevo Herald reported Cabello's former security chief Leamsy Salazar had fled and was collaborating with U.S. authorities investigating allegations of Venezuelan officials' involvement in drugs. A ruling party legislator confirmed the defection of a former security agent for Cabello, a powerful and combative ex-soldier who heads the National Assembly and is the ruling party's No. 2. "He deserted from the armed forces in December and has emerged in the United States as a protected witness to defame, insult, and submit to public scorn the National Assembly's president," said Congressman Pedro Carreno, flanked by fellow "Chavista" legislators. More »

  • Opinion: Greece has turned the page – it’s up to all of us to write the next …
    Opinion: Greece has turned the page – it’s up to all of us to write the next … Mon, Jan 26, 2015

    This election was vital – not just for Greeks, but for working class people throughout Europe. More »